JUDGE ME NOT
Ruth, a beautiful young woman, has an affliction that sets her apart in the eyes of the ignorant peasants of the early nineteenth century. Suffering the aftermath of the industrial revolution, they see her as a figure of ridicule. But they also fear her as they believe she has special powers as she hobbles around dragging her clubbed-foot. It is said that most of what has befallen them can be laid at her door and those she curses come to a bad end.
Evicted from their home after her da’s death, Ruth, her ma and her siblings trudge across the Pennines in search of work in the cotton mills. An accident takes Ruth’s ma from them and Ruth and her siblings are thrown into prison where they endure terrible and terrifying conditions as they are held responsible for the death of The Earl of Harrogate. Ruth manages to escape.
The new Earl of Harrogate, though grieving for his brother, does what he can for the others in gratitude to the family for not having run away from the accident, but instead choosing to help his badly injured mother.
When the earl comes across Ruth and tries to help her, he falls in love with her, but he cannot cross the class divide, nor can he betray his betrothed, Lady Katrina even though theirs is not a love match, but one of necessity for the Earl, whose family fortunes have been squandered. But, can he live with this decision - must he, even after Lady Katrina becomes his wife and betrays him with another man?
Ruth, afraid the earl will turn her in sets out to cross the Pennines to try to find a man who has shown an interest in her. Things change for her when, half-starved and unable to go on, she is found by hill-farmer, Josh. Together they build a love that Ruth knows will sustain her, but when a child falls ill after crossing her path, she is thought to be a witch and is hounded. A horrific ordeal by fire awaits her as she is dragged to Pendle Hill.
Now her whereabouts are known she is given a hard-labour sentence for her part in the accident.
The sexual abuses she suffers whilst in prison bring her low. The death of her gaoler sees her facing the gallows as it is thought fear of her, after his rape of her,